Colin Baker returns to Big Finish Audio, in his latest adventure as the sixth Doctor. Antidote To Oblivion see’s the Doctor reunited with Flip Jackson (his latest companion). Flip convinces the Doctor to answer a Time Lord’s distress signal, emitting from the future – on Earth. All is not as it seems though as the Doctor is bought face to face once more with the greedy, evil Sil!
I have to confess, I never really got into the Colin Baker era. His take on the Doctor just didn’t appeal to me as child growing up. After Peter Davison he seemed too erratic and unstable for my liking. For many years, I’ve found myself wondering why Colin was chosen to replace Peter and why it seemed to be the beginning of the end!
There are certain stories, from that era, which I do enjoy watching. Yet with that insanely bright, colorful jacket and those awful trousers, I just could not take the Doctor seriously. I know now that this wasn’t Colin’s fault, there was some big stories – ones which would lead him to redemption in the pipework, that would have seen Colin’s incarnation become the hero we all love once more. Also he didn’t choose the outfit, in fact he was very much against it.
Thanks to Big Finish, we’ve been able to see Colin’s Doctor flourish and begin his road to redemption. Becoming more stable and less erratic. Through Big Finish I’ve been able to reconnect with the Sixth Doctor, in a way I didn’t think was possible. Now we have the return of Sil, one of the sixth Doctors most famous foes.
Antidote to Oblivion is written by Philip Martin, the man responsible for introducing us to Sil in the first place. It seems fitting that Martin is back on writing duties, bringing back Sil and the sixth Doctor face to face. Also returning is actor Nabil Shaban once more bringing life to the alien Sil. As soon as you hear Sil’s evil, gurgling laugh a shudder runs up your spine. Making you remember how Sil made your skin crawl in Vengeance On Varos.
This is really the first story where Flip is a central part, in previous adventures she’s drifted off to the sidelines or vanished to find help. It’s a great performance from Lisa Greenwood and I’m really growing fond of Flip as a character. She’s streetwise, cocky and eager for adventure. A definite difference to Colin’s previous companions, one that allows for a different side of the Doctor to be bought to the front. There’s a definite different synergy between these two, one that I’m looking forward to seeing Big Finish follow up.
The story has some interesting ideas, with psychic bacteria and a drug riddled water supply. We’re reminded why Sil is so dangerous. Not because he’s after world domination but purely for his desire and greed for money. A rather nasty combination, which makes him a whole lot deadlier than say the Daleks.
Although the story has some great points, it’s not without its downfalls. Martin handles the return of Sil brilliantly, yet seems to get confused with the Doctor. Throughout the story he seems to switch the Doctor from his acerbic pre-trial incarnation to his softer post trial incarnation, at the flick of a switch. Colin brings his usual gusto to the performance but seems to have to work hard to achieve it. Something you rarely see from him. As though there’s two sides of a coin being flipped for control.
Then there’s Flip who has so much potential. Lisa plays the part brilliantly, even though the script seems to give her less to work with. She gets the usual companion lines, making it a standard fare. It’s a shame as Flip could be so more, and I hope that this is rectified. It will be nice to see Flip adding even more, seeing more of her character blossom over time. Hopefully she won’t be given just the standard companion fare in further stories.
Worth listening to?
Antidote to Oblivion is a good return for Sil, and has some great ideas. The cast manage to pull the thing together, but it has its faults. It’s worth a listen to just for Sil, but it’s not one of the best stories involving the sixth incarnation.
Doctor Who: Antidote To Oblivion is out now from Big Finish. Our reviewer bought his own copy.